Trailing 6-0 after just an inning and a half, the EvoShield Canes could have wilted away in the hot Georgia heat Wednesday in their first game of the 11u division of the Triple Crown U.S. Club Nationals. Instead, thanks to four innings of solid relief pitching from Gavin Turner and timely hitting over the final three innings, the Canes rallied to defeat 6-4-3 DP Baseball (GA), 9-7, at the East Cobb Baseball Complex.
“We came down here to compete,” said Canes head coach Rick Harland. “We came down here to fight every inning and have a little fun, but we wanted to try and put ourselves in position to win ball games. The effort that those boys put out there in that game is probably going to define how our week goes. When they were down in that heat, they could have easily been beaten, but they came back there and got the win.”
After falling behind 5-0, the Canes went to Turner in the second inning. The hurler would allow a run in the second but would shut 6-4-3 Baseball down over the next three innings, allowing just one hit over the next three innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
“It just felt like a normal game, and I had my defense behind me,” Turner said. “I was pretty much trying to let my defense make plays behind me.”
Turner would play a big part in the comeback at the plate as well as his single in the fourth, combined with an error, scored Pat Queen to give the Canes their first run. Zach Rubin would drive in the second run of the inning with a single to score Turner, then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Cameron Crews drew the Canes within three, 6-3.
Turner would drive in the tying run in the fifth inning as his squeeze bunt couldn’t be handled in time to get Nathaniel Roller at the plate, knotting the score at 6-all. Jake Stanley would then single to left to bring home the go-ahead run as the Canes took their first lead, 7-6. The lead would have been two, but on a fly out to center, 6-4-3’s Craig Kalkbrenner threw home to mow down a runner trying to score, keeping the deficit for 6-4-3 at a run.
The Canes kept 6-4-3 off the board in the fifth, then added two important insurance runs in the sixth. Tucker Harland would bring the team out of the dugout with his acrobatics to score the first of the runs. Derek West hit a fly ball to right that was caught. Harland tagged and tried to make it home, but the throw beat the runner. With the catcher positioned slightly up the line towards third, Harland leapt around the 6-4-3 backstop, then bounced back to dive in and touch the plate to make it 8-6.
6-4-3 came back with a run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single off the bat of Jack Myers, but that is as close as the local team would get in the final frame. Brayden Stout recorded the final two outs to get the save as the Canes earned the 9-7 victory.
“It was huge for us to come back and get the win,” said Turner. “We’re really happy that we were able to get the win.”
EvoShield Canes would play later in the day against the Central Alabama Nationals, while 6-4-3 closed the day with an 0-2 record in pool play.
Tags: Baseball, Triple Crown Baseball, US Club Nationals